I love Italian food but can't always put in the effort... yes, we always make our own sauce. Chopping veggies, simmering on the stove for hours and puree it up! And sometimes, yes, we even make the pasta. Lately we've been looking to alternative grains and gluten free options, which we have not had much success with making from scratch.
On a trip to Whole Foods we skeptically decided to try some ready made options. Taste Republic pasta in the refrigerated section caught our eye. Being from Wisconsin we tried the cheese tortellini. It's gluten free, made with a blend of brown rice flour and tapioca. Most of those gluten free pastas we've tried we've struggled to make successfully. This tortillini we followed the instructions and it cooked up perfectly. It had a great texture and taste, not gummy or soggy like many other GF pastas. This was very close in taste to a handmade conventional pasta. Next time, we will try the other varieties - they have fettuccini, linguini, vegetable based doughs, and even chickpea/lentil doughs! In looking to learn more about this company that makes this good stuff I was excited to see it's made by RP Pasta who we used to buy from at the Farmer's Market in Madison, Wisconsin. It's great to see a small company grow nationwide. Now that I'm in North Carolina I can enjoy a treat from back home. Website currently has $1 coupon towards the pasta - check it out here!
For sauce we went with Cucina Antica, tomato basil. When we make our own sauce we always use San Marzano tomatoes. We were drawn to this as they do as well. All of the ingredients I recognize, no strange fillers - all legit vegetables and spices in there, just like we'd make at home. The taste was of fresh tomato flavor. I like seeing the garlic and basil pulsed together with tomatoes. I just put it in a saucepan and heated it up. In a few minutes I had something like I'd be simmering away all day to make. So easy and delicious! I looked into getting more on the regular and am happy to see it's on amazon!!
To complete the meal, I roasted some ready cut butternut squash and grabbed some kale and spinach from the garden to toss in a raw handful. We added some protein and topped with basil from the garden. Such an easy fancy dinner that we look forward to repeating again!
Outpost Foods Co-op is one of my favorite places. I always stop in on a trip back home to Milwaukee. The deli and bakery area is my favorite. I love to discover what they come up with, and grab a magazine of course to see what beautiful foods they are showcasing and recipes they are sharing. This recipe comes from their old school newsletter.
The Green Tomato sauce recipe mentioned is my favorite way to use up green tomatoes. I make a batch of it every year. Ten years after reading about it I finally tried the soup recipe that uses the sauce. It is a winner! A great change of pace. I didn't have any yogurt to add and it's fine without it. I have for lunch, adding whatever roasted veggies I have leftover in the fridge.
Outpost Foods Curried Green Tomato Soup
September 2010 newsletter
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 large carrots, peeled and medium diced
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 quart green tomato sauce
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon red curry paste
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
whole milk yogurt, for garnish
1. Heat oil in a small, hot stockpot.
2. Saute carrots, onions and celery until slightly soft, about five minutes.
3. Add green tomato sauce and 1 cup vegetable stock and cook until vegetables are completely soft, about 10 minutes.
4. Puree in a blender or food processor.
5. Add additional stock if desired.
6. Add the curry paste and additional seasoning as needed.
7. Serve with yogurt garnish.
Here's a salad I like to have for lunch as it's healthy and filling. I've also taken this one to potlucks with a good response. This is a good one for those new to quinoa as the classic tomato, cilantro and black bean combo is a winner!
1. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender and water has been absorbed, 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Whisk together in a bowl the olive oil, lime juice, cumin, and red pepper flakes.
3. Combine quinoa, tomatoes, black beans and green onions together in a large bowl. Pour dressing over quinoa mixture; toss to coat. Stir in cilantro. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator.
Tomato soups are one of our favorites. We've got a few in our rotation and this one is one of my favorites with the sweetness of carrots and the touch of garlic and of course chili peppers! Right now my garden has a plenty chili peppers so it's the perfect use. It's just as good with dried chilis. I've used any milk I have on hand and it's all been good. It's that combination of roasting the tomatoes and those chilis that make this so good! I found this years ago in I don't know which magazine and it still holds up..
Spicy Tomato Soup
Serve this soup with garlic bread and vegetables for a simple, healthy dinner.
14 ounces can diced tomatoes in juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small fresh or dried red chili pepper, seeds removed for less heat
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups plain soy milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
coarse salt and ground pepper to taste
parsley leaves for garnish
1. Heat broider with rack in middle position of oven. Strain tomatoes, reserving juices. Spread tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and broil until lightly browned about 8 minutes.
2. In a food processor, combine browned tomatoes, garlic, chili pepper, carrot, soy milk, reserved tomato juice, and lemon juice, puree until smooth.
3. Transfer to a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer; cook 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley leaves before serving.
I will confess I'm not a huge fan of soup... usually lots of effort for so so effect. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt completely changed my mind after I made his tomato soup from his comprehensive book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. I hear him on my favorite podcast, Cooking Issues and finally checked out his book. It's a great read, with lots of basic tips on upgrading the usual favorites. My first one I tackled is the tomato soup and it has made it into the weekly rotation. So much I have the Muir Glen's on my amazon subscribe and save!
I started making this in winter when I didn't have fresh herbs so I topped with homemade basil oil which complimented this perfectly.
15 Minute Pantry Tomato Soup
The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups onion, finely diced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cans 28 ounce whole tomatoes , with juice
1/2 cup whole milk or heavy cream
black pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons whiskey, vodka, or brandy
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs - parsley, basil or chives
1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and oregano and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, with their juice, and stir, scraping the flour up off the bottom of the pan. Add the milk or cream and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes with the spoon, until the whole thing comes to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes.
2. Remove the soup from the heat and puree using an immersion blender. Or transfer to a standing blender, in batches if necessary, and puree, staring on low speed and gradually increasing to high, then return to the pan. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the whisky, if using, and bring to a simmer. Serve immediately topping each serving with a generous drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of herbs, and if you like a crack or two of freshly ground pepper, with grilled cheese sandwiches alongside.
This is another great one of Martha's easy Everyday Food recipes. Roasting the cherry tomatoes with some fresh breadcrumbs adds a nice touch after I get tired of eating them out of my garden right off the vine!
Cherry Tomato Crisp
2 slices white sandwich bread
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, combine bread, Parmesan cheese, parsley leaves, olive oil, and garlic; season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Pulse until bread is very coarsely chopped, 4 to 6 times.
2. In an 8-inch square baking dish, arrange cherry tomatoes in a single layer; sprinkle with crumb mixture. Bake until crust is browned and tomatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
I love growing tomatoes in my garden but every year I end up with a few stragglers that do not fully ripen. I've never had success with getting them to ripen inside and finally I found something besides frying up those green ones (which I love but it's just a bit time consuming!).
Paging through my local Co-op's magazine I came across this recipe that looked like a great way to use these green beauties. It is very easy and is unique. The tomatoes are boiled in olive oil kind of reminding me of fried green tomatoes. It turns into a rich, silky smooth sauce that is great over pasta. My husband finds it a bit too much so he will mix a little with a red tomato sauce.
Green Tomato Sauce
adapted from Janet Fletcher's "Fresh from the Farmer's Market", published by Outpost Co-Op Magazine, September 2010
2 pounds green tomatoes
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1. Combine all ingredients in a stockpot and cook down until the tomatoes are soft.
2. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
I love paging through magazines and setting aside inspiring recipes for another day. This one, for tomato-avocado toasts came from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food back in June 2005. Reminds me of a summer day, I would love to be eating this outside on my patio. But instead I'm stuck inside on this 20 degree day in Wisconsin!... but I do have my Brewer's Organics box of veggies to keep me company, which included a pint of cherry tomatoes and an avocado! And from my weekly Braise order, I do have a loaf of their hearth baked ciabatta in my house.
1 small baguette (5 oz)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ripe avocado
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice baguette diagonally into sixteen
1/2-inch-thick slices; brush both sides with a total of olive oil. Bake on a
baking sheet until golden, about 8 minutes.
2. Halve avocado lengthwise and remove pit; scoop flesh into a small bowl.
Mash with lemon juice; season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Spread on
toasted bread; top with grape tomatoes.
is the smallest kitchen ever. We used to watch those decorating shows that said they were doing small kitchens and then could see that 4 of my kitchens would fit in their "small kitchens".
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